Four days walking in the Kiso Valley
Walk along a centuries-old walking trail that winds through stunning nature, high mountains and lovely villages in the Kiso Valley. Accommodation is at traditional Japanese inns (minshuku), where you will get pampered with a hot bath and served breakfast as well as dinner. In general you walk around 15 kilometer a day, but it’s possible to walk less.
This extension is an add-on on a sample tour or any other tailor-made tour in Japan. It is not possible to book this package separately.
4 day walk the Kiso Valley
The Kiso Valley was the central part of the ancient Nakasendo Trail from the Edo Period. This trail, famous for its ancient post towns, used to serve as the main mountain route connecting Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo). This road provided an inland alternative to another important route at that time: the Tokaido route alongside the Pacific Ocean coast. For centuries samurai merchants, pilgrims, etc travelled it, but the bulk of traffic was made up of daimyo, feudal lords, traveling back and forth from their domains to perform their yearly service for the shogun in Edo. The shogun invented this policy to prevent daimyo from gaining too much wealth or power, by separating them from their homes and by forcing them to spend a large sum funding the immense travel expenses to and from Edo.
Day 1 Niekawa – Yabuhara
The small town of Niekawa is the starting point of your 4 day walk in the Kiso Valley. Along the way you will stay in rural, family-run Japanese inns (minshuku) and relax in onsen (thermal hot spring baths). These minshuku not only include breakfast, but also offer dinner. It’s also possible to cover certain portions of the walking trail by train. You walk from Niekawa to Yabuhara (almost 16 kilometers). Along the way you pass through Narai, from there you cross the Torii Pass to Yabuhara. Just like in the other post towns Tsumago and Magome, the atmosphere of the town with no modern buildings and cars takes you back in time, to Edo Period. Of all three villages, Narai is the least touristy. Upon arrival in Yubahara, you continue by train to the post town of Kiso Fukushima, where you spend the night.
Day 2 Mount Ontake, pilgrimage to the crater of the volcano.
Today you will visit volcano Ontake. At 3063 meter Ontake is the second highest mountain in Japan after Mount Fuji. The volcano was thought to be inactive until October 1979 when it suddenly erupted. The volcano is venerated as a holy site and regarded as one of the three sacred mountains of Japan. It is still a popular pilgrimage climb. The temples and Shinto shrines scattered around the mountain, the stunning views and turquoise blue lakes make the trail very attractive. It takes around 3 hours to reach the summit at 2100 meter high, but you can also make the ascent by cable car. Tonight you will sleep in Kiso Fukushima again.
Day 3 Through paddy fields to Tsumago
Get transferred by train to Nojiri. The trail leads through the countryside and passes right through villages and paddy fields to Tsumago (19 kilometers). This town and its residents went to great lengths to recreate the ambience of the Edo Period. Ancient buildings are not allowed to be demolished and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed, allowing visitors to imagine they have slipped back to an earlier time. However, the town doesn’t have the feel of an open-air museum, because its inhabitants still live and work there as they always have. Tsumago en Magome.
Day 4 Tsumago – Magome – Tsumago
The trail between Tsumago to Magome is around 7 kilometers long and is considered the best maintained section. The small town of Magome has been well preserved and is beautifully restored, which contrasts the rugged authenticity of neighbouring Tsumago, the final destination of this special journey.
The price for this 4 day hike in the Kiso Valley is € 350,- per person based on double occupancy.
Prices may vary depending on the day (weekend) or travel season. The price includes three nights’ accommodation, including breakfast and dinner.
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